Wait until you see what happens when an actual historian starts dropping truth bombs about reparations, slavery, and colonialism on woke students at Cambridge University!
– The historian’s bold stance in speaking the truth in a hostile environment is commendable!
– He challenges prevailing narratives surrounding reparations and colonialism.
– Students at Cambridge Union were stunned by historical facts about British colonialism and reparations.
Rafe Heydel-Mankoo is a well-known historian and television commentator in Britain. He recently did what many believe would be impossible. He left an audience of woke college students at the Cambridge Union stunned and silent over historical facts regarding what happened under British colonialism.
He framed the debate by saying that reparations are inescapably a matter of tort law, and the purpose of tort law is to compensate individuals that suffer personal or property damage because of another’s wrongful conduct. The fundamental flaw in the reparations argument is that neither the victim nor the victimizer of the horrors of slavery are alive today. Tort reparation is simply unintelligible when dealing with the descendants of victims and victimizers rather than the victims and victimizers themselves!
How do you even begin to justify the notion that it’s ethical for an innocent person today to be culpable for the sins of their forefathers? Why are descendants entitled to damages for sins committed against their great, great, great, great grandfathers? Why should an entire population pay for reparations when only a tiny fraction of the previous generation was guilty of owning slaves?
Out of a population of millions, both in the UK and the States, only a few thousand were slave owners. Why should Irish and Italian and Slavs and a whole host of other ethnicities pay for reparations when they themselves were often victims of social disenfranchisement? Do they get reparations now, too, and if so, from whom? This is the problem when you try to apply Tort law to situations and contexts that have nothing to do with actual reparation.
What he says about reparations in the UK equally apply here in the States. This historian brought up the rather inconvenient fact of African participation and profit in the slave trade. Things were not simply as clear-cut as reparations rhetoric would have us believe. It’s amply documented how Africans profited off the slave trade, often in collaboration with local chiefs, and served as intermediaries with European and Arab purchasers. That fact alone should be enough to dispel any semblance of plausibility for reparations rhetoric.
He also discusses the wrongs of colonialism and how we are certainly seeing a post-colonial world arising all around us, but regardless, of all its wrongs, British colonialism imported a whole host of social and cultural practices that have contributed to the former colonies’ flourishing. From the establishment of private property rights, common law, and banking to a flourishing university system, British colonialism did have a bright side to it. The historical picture is nowhere near as clear-cut as reparations rhetoric would have us believe. It is encouraging to see this historian’s courage in standing up for truth in an otherwise very hostile and triggered environment!
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